Greg van Avermaet has said that it is “not nice to hear” that Philippe Gilbert is aiming for victory in the cobbled Classics in 2015, with the former world champion having declared in November that he has unfinished business with the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
Gilbert said that he would be looking to kick-off the classics season with Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, a race in which van Avermaet narrowly missed out on victory to Ian Stannard in 2014.
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But with second place in the Tour of Flanders in 2014 as well, van Avermaet believes that he is still best placed out the two Belgian BMC riders to take a win on the cobbles.
“2014 was a good year,” van Avermaet told Sporza. “I am now 29, my strongest years are coming. I want to keep up my attacking style, then the big Classic will come.”
“I have become stronger and Philippe has a very good track record. He is not as impressive now. I’m still ambitious and want to take my own chance in the Flemish races.”
And while van Avermaet says that he not pleased that he’ll have to compete with his compatriot Gilbert for leadership of the squad at the Classics, nothing will be decided until at least the the team’s winter training camp in December.
“I think the first training camp with the team in December will decide a lot,” he said. “The team leaders will have their say and then we have to decide whether we can succeed in riding together at those races.“
“Last year we had decided that Philippe would be leader in the Ardennes races and I in the Flemish races. Now Philippe will again ride the Flemish races and the Tour of Flanders will certainly be one of them.”
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